Albany Panthers fans say losing team could hurt city - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Panthers fans say losing team could hurt city

Posted: Updated:
William Ross, Albany Resident / Panthers Fan William Ross, Albany Resident / Panthers Fan
Leroy Smith, Albany Resident / Panthers Fan Leroy Smith, Albany Resident / Panthers Fan
  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • GEMA offers 10 tips during extreme heat

    GEMA offers 10 tips during extreme heat

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:50:56 GMT
    A heat wave will make it feel like the temperature is over 100º in the next couple of days in South Georgia. The CDC says extreme heat is the top weather-related killer in the nation, claiming approximately 400 lives per year. More >>
    A heat wave will make it feel like the temperature is over 100º in the next couple of days in South Georgia. The CDC says extreme heat is the top weather-related killer in the nation, claiming approximately 400 lives per year. More >>
  • Educator, politician Earleen Sizemore passes

    Educator, politician Earleen Sizemore passes

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:50:55 GMT
    A woman who served as a superintendent of Worth County schools, and as a state representative in the Georgia legislator died Wednesday in Sylvester. Earleen Wilkerson Sizemore was 76, and died after a lengthy illness at Pruitt Health Sylvester.More >>
    A woman who served as a superintendent of Worth County schools, and as a state representative in the Georgia legislator died Wednesday in Sylvester. Earleen Wilkerson Sizemore was 76, and died after a lengthy illness at Pruitt Health Sylvester.More >>
  • Large bee hive being relocated from Valdosta business

    Large bee hive being relocated from Valdosta business

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:45 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:45:09 GMT
    The bees have made a hive inside an exterior wall at the back of The Snake Pit and a bee keeper has set up a box on the outside of the wall next to the hive to collect the bees and has been working to relocate the bees for past couple of months.More >>
    The bees have made a hive inside an exterior wall at the back of The Snake Pit and a bee keeper has set up a box on the outside of the wall next to the hive to collect the bees and has been working to relocate the bees for past couple of months.
    More >>
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Some Albany Panthers fans worry the loss of the city's indoor football team will hurt the area's economic growth.  The city terminated its contract with the Panthers because the team owed the city money.

Fans say Panthers games were one of the few positive attractions in the city.  They worry losing the team could keep businesses and residents from locating here. 

Albany football fans loved their Panthers.  But the team won't play in 2014 because it breached its contract with the city. 

"This is the first I've heard of it today.  That's sad.  I don't even really know how to take that," said Matthew Allen, Albany Resident. 

City leaders said the team owed $12,000 for three months rent at the Civic Center, claiming none of the $4,000 payments for December 2013, January and February of this year were received.  They also said the team hadn't made any concession payments since February of 2013. 

"It's sad for Albany, but at the same time, you know, the city got to move forward, you know, and try other things," said William Ross, Albany Resident / Panthers Fan. 

Team owner Rod Chappell told us the city manager told him on January 27th he had 30 days to pay his debt.  City Manager James Taylor refused to appear on camera, but denied Chappell's claim. 

Meanwhile, fans are disheartened to lose the team.  "I would like for the city of Albany to be more of a supporting element in games and organizations of the panthers," said Leroy Smith, Albany Resident / Panthers Fan. 

Others weren't surprised by the news.

"Finally the city said they still left owing some money.  And I said, oh, I know where this is going," said Ross. 

But losing another attraction, some said, could keep businesses and future residents from relocating to Albany.  "If it's a boring city, why would you want to live here?  There's plenty of places people can go, they don't have to come here.  We can't be losing everything that comes in," said Allen. 

Residents said they hope the city will do more to attract and support future teams.  Some suggested adopting a quarter of a percent sales tax to support related activities.  

"Explicitly toward an entertainment or an attractive feature, or you know to support organizations who come here as well as to give them the foot hold to be able to stay here,"  said Smith.

Commissioner Roger Marietta said the team cost the city about $100,000 a year in subsidized rent and other support.

The city attorney's office sent a letter to Mr. Chappell, saying the city reserves the right to bring legal action against the team if they don't pay their debt.  

 

Copyright 2014 WALB.  All rights reserved.